Health Group

The Health Group convenes nearly 40 funders to learn about and assess their collective health funding priorities and barriers to the implementation and sustainability of health improvement strategies. These stakeholders have made a mutual commitment to accelerating the transition of Central Appalachia by:

  • Orienting investors and other stakeholders to the social determinants of health and Appalachia’s regional health disparities;
  • Identifying economic development opportunities in the healthcare sector;
  • Ensuring health and healthcare issues are a focal point of the Network’s collective work;
  • Encouraging coordinated investment in strategic initiatives that promote health in all policies; and
  • Promoting a regional culture of health that supports equity, improved health outcomes, and greater economic strength.

Indicators of success for the Health Group might ultimately include:

  • Improved access to affordable, high-quality, integrated health care;
  • Reduction of health disparities;
  • Widespread access to nutritious food;
  • Increased sustainability of businesses in all sectors;
  • Development of health-related projects and services unique to the region; and
  • Evidence of health in all policies supported by the Network’s investment.

Health Group Activities

Activities that the group undertakes together and individually serve their collective interest of improving the health and well-being of people and communities in Central Appalachia. Specific activities include:

  • Educate funders on the concepts of social determinants of health, health equity, and health in all policies;
  • Highlight existing regional health data which suggest economic opportunity and strategic priorities; and
  • Explore health-oriented approaches to local investment, such as built environment, public education, and technical assistance grants that support community-level health and well-being. 

Health Group Membership

The Health Group is comprised of members representing the Appalachia Funders Network’s states (Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Western North Carolina). Membership is open to public and private funders interested in addressing Central Appalachia’s health and quality of life issues in a community economic development context.

Co-Chairs of the Health Group

Laura Nixon, Program Officer at The Educational Foundation of America
Megan Simpson, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation

Members of the Health Group

Jen Algire, President & CEO of Greater Clark Foundation
Whitney Allen, United Healthcare
Emily Avery, Rural LISC
Marcia Brand, DentaQuest Partnership
Bob Boone, Bernard McDonough Foundation
Laura Boone, Pallottine Foundation of Huntington, WV
Darryl Cannady, Appalachian Community Fund/South
Eric Dewald, HealthPath Foundation
John Earles, Logan Healthcare Foundation
Mary Francis, Interact for Health
Chitra Kumar, Environmental Protection Agency Sustainable Communities
Amalia Mendoza, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Parrish Ravelli, DentaQuest Partnership
Janelle Ray, Pallotine Foundation of Buckhannon, WV
Renee Steffen, Sisters Health Foundation
Kimberly Tieman, Benedum Foundation
Heather Murphy, The Health Foundation 
Mary Francis, Interact for Health 
Molly Bauer, Sisters Health Foundation 
Eleanor Beaber, United Healthcare 
Jenny Ismert, United Healthcare